Allotment blog: We’ve crops to swap

Digging the past: exploring the archaeology under Howe Hill allotment. Photographs: Apples For Eggs
23 Sep 2013 @ 5.32 pm
| Food & Drink
Digging the past: exploring the archaeology under Howe Hill allotment. Photographs: Apples For Eggs
Digging the past: exploring the archaeology under Howe Hill allotment. Photographs: Apples For Eggs

All the hard work is beginning to pay off as the allotmenteers exchange fresh produce, report Sue Jewitt and Vicky Swift

With the school holidays over we’ll soon have more time to preserve some of the gluts of produce that have been coming our way throughout August.

In the last few weeks we’ve received kale, swede and spring onions from our fellow allotment holders and in return we’ve had an abundant cucumber crop to swap due to some over-zealous seed sowing in the spring.

We’ve been picking up to 20 every couple of days and other than giving them away by the bagful we’ve been a bit stuck as to what to do with them. But in our hunt for recipes we came across a cucumber dressing that has spiced up our summer salads no end – see below.

Digging deeper

A box of treasure? Some of the Howe Hill finds
A box of treasure? Some of the Howe Hill finds

Meanwhile, throughout August there’s been allotment digging of a different kind going on in some of York’s allotments.

As part of the Plotting The Past project, York Archaeological Trust have been using geophysics and test-pitting, Time Team-style, to unearth the stories of our allotments. So far test pits have been dug at Low Moor and Howe Hill allotments.

We went along to the Howe Hill allotment dig. The bulk of the finds at this site were in a test pit which was excavated on one of the main pathways through the allotment, the other two pits were on cultivated plots and yielded very few finds.

As for the treasure, well we may not have found Roman hoards but a couple of clay pipes, a 200 year old piece of pottery, a rusty latch, some files, a broken pane of glass, a slate pencil and a pulley all made for intriguing items for those taking part.

Some of these finds will make their way in to the exhibition of the project scheduled for later in the year.

If you have any photos of York allotments please email community archaeologist Hannah Baxter.

Recipe: Cucumber dressing

Cucumbers. Insert your favourite Ken Dodd joke here
Cucumbers. Insert your favourite Ken Dodd joke here

Ingredients

225ml (8fl oz) rice vinegar
225ml (8fl oz) water
125g (4½oz) sugar
2.5cm (1in) piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
A garlic clove, peeled and sliced
Salt
225g (8oz) cucumber grated
6 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 chillies trimmed, deseeded and finely chopped

Method

Put the vinegar, water, sugar, ginger and garlic in a pan and bring to the boil. Season with salt and cook for two minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Put the cucumber, spring onions and chillies in a bowl. Strain the cooled liquid through a sieve over the cucumber and discard the garlic and ginger. Stir well.

Makes about 16fl oz and can be stored in the fridge for up to seven days. Taken from the Wagamama Cookbook by Hugo Arnold.

Coming up

September 29-29 York Food & Drink Festival. For full listings go to our festival What’s On section

September 26, 4.30pm The Incredible Tour & Party at New School House Gallery, Peasholme Green